If you're a freelancer, 1099 contractor, or entrepreneur then you are eligible to claim tax write-offs that salaried employees don't get access to. Tell us what you do for work, and explore your deductions below.
Managing a business has a lot of costs. If you don’t report those on your taxes, it’ll eat into your profits. That's why you should start tracking your business expenses so you can deduct them on your tax bill.
The most common question we get at Keeper Tax is, “What expenses can I deduct as a 1099 contractor?”
Use this article as a resource to find deductions to your 1099-MISC tax bill.
The expenses you can deduct as a 1099 contractor can vary depending on your professions or the field you're working in. It would be beneficial to look into some of the specific deductions you can take for your line of work. We offer a ton of tax guides for writers, real estate agents, construction workers, Uber drivers, and more.
Here are the 11 most common write-offs you can make as a 1099 contractor that you can’t afford to miss!
A meal qualifies as a business expense write-off when you're traveling for business, meeting to discuss business, attending a sales pitch, or entertaining a client.
It has to be business-related in order to quality as a taxable expense.
Sounds pretty sweet, right? To learn more, check out our more detailed guide to business meal deductions.
If you drive your car for business, you can deduct some of the costs from your taxes.
There's one important thing to know about car expenses: there are two ways you can deduct them, the actual expense method and the standard mileage method.
Here's a quick breakdown of what these mean.
Actual expenses are things like:
Standard mileage, on the other hand, can only only be used to deduct the miles you drive for work — at the standard rate provided by the IRS, of course. The 2021 rate was $0.56.
If you choose actual expenses, you can't deduct mileage. So it's important to choose the method that will give you the biggest tax deduction.
Here's a rule of thumb: if your business requires you to drive a lot, go the mileage deduction route. If you don’t have to drive that much, the actual expenses will probably be your best choice.
Check out our in-depth guide on writing off car expenses.
If there is a space in your home that you only use for business, you can deduct it from your taxes. The area could be a traditional home office, a storage zone for your online store, or even a home gym where you see personal training clients — anything business-related
With this deduction, you'll be able to write off a portion of all your home expenses, like rent, home insurance, and even home goods like toilet paper.
If you travel for business, there are a whole lot of deductions you can make to your tax bill.
Just remember, travel expenses have to be business-related. You can't expect to deduct expenses that are for personal purposes or extraordinarily extravagant (I’m lookin’ at you bottle service…).
Here is a list of travel expenses you can possibly deduct from your tax bill if it is for business:
Take a look at our guide to business travel deductions for more information.
You can deduct your internet and phone bills from your tax bill — but not entirely. Why? Because you're likely to use these services for both business and personal purposes.
Here's an example of how this works. Say you use your phone for business purposes 50% of the time. The rest of the time, you'll texting your friends, watching YouTube, and online shopping. In that case, you can only deduct half of your phone bill.
If you are unsure of your percentage, you can be on the safe side by taking a slightly lower deduction. Why? Because if you say you use your phone for business 80% of the time, you're more likely to set off some red flags at the IRS and get audited.
When you run your own business, it's crucial to invest in maintaining or improving your skills. If you don't, your business could be toast. That's why the IRS lets self-employed people write off qualified education expenses.
You can write off educational expenses like classes, textbooks, tuition, newspaper subscriptions, events related to your profession.
Everything you write off, however, has to be ordinary for your field or work and related to your business. If you're a writer, for example, you can't deduct weekly karate classes from your tax bill. It wouldn’t make sense.
Check out our guide to educational tax deductions for a more detailed breakdown (and plenty of examples)!
As a 1099 contractor, you're probably going to need some supplies and materials to run your business. Luckily, you can deduct the amount you spend on them each calendar year.
Office supplies like pens, Post-its, and paperclips are fully deductible regardless of how much you used. Other deductible materials will depend on what you do for work. If you are a kitchen remodeler, for instance, you can deduct the tools you need on the job.
Bottom line: If you need something to do your work, then it’s deductible.
All advertising costs are generally fully tax-deductible. The cost of promoting yourself, your services, and your products products are included.
This deduction can be a lot more flexible than most freelancers realize. The cost of printing flyers business cards, running Google and Facebook ads, and attending trade shows are all tax-deductible. So is the cost of hiring a PR agency or a freelance marketer to run promotions for you.
The IRS allows you to deduct parking expenses. If you regularly pay for parking over the course of your independent contract work, those fees can easily add up.
Of course, you can only take this deduction if your client isn't including parking reimbursement on any 1099-MISC they file for you. You have to pay for parking yourself.
There's one extra tip to keep in mind: Unfortunately, parking tickets don't count as a write-off here.
If you need freelance copywriters, graphic designers, or any other type of independent contractor to help you run your business, you can write off their fees on your taxes.
If you paid out a contractor $600 or more over the course of the year, you'll also have to file Form 1099-MISC for them.
What counts as a business startup cost? These are the expenses you incur while you're creating an active trade or business — or investigating the creation (or purchase) of an active trade or business.
If your business is just starting out, you can deduct up to $5,000 of your business startup costs — along with $5,000 of organizational costs. (Organizational costs are simply the costs in forming a corporation, partnership, or LLC. You don't need to pay them for a sole proprietorship.)
Business startup costs can cover market research, planning, advertising, and even the cost of hiring a business mentor, consultant, or coach.
Now you know the top 11 write-offs for self-employed people. But there's plenty more to discover, depending on what you do for work.
As an independent contractor, it's crucial to take advantage of all the write-offs you quality for. Otherwise, you're in for a nasty surprise at tax time. If you want a tool to automatically find and track all your expenses for you, click here to get started.
Photoshop, Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Cloud - whatever you use for your craft.
Website hosting fees, plugins, stock photos, and themes are tax deductible!
A new computer, cell phone, keyboard, printer, monitor, mouse, it all counts!
Notebooks, sketchpads, pens, pencils, paper, stencils, paperclips galore!
Whether you pay rent or own your home, a portion of those expenses are tax deductible.
It'd be hard to work in an office without running water, huh? You water bill counts.
Gotta keep the lights on in your home office! A portion of your electricity bill counts.
Whether rental or homeowner insurance, you can write off a portion as part of home office.
Your comcast bill is a tax write off. You need internet to do your job!
A desk, chairs, lamps, and other home office necessities are all tax write offs.
If you are self-employed, you can write off your medical and dental insurance coverage.
When you're traveling for work, all meals are tax-deductible. Even takeout!
When you travel for work, lodging expenses like hotel rooms and Airbnbs are write-offs.
Planes, trains, and car rentals are all work-related travel costs that can be written off.
Gas is expensive! A portion of your gas station fill ups are tax-deductible.
Oil changes, repairs, and regular checkups are all tax-deductible if you drive for work.
Car insurance, roadside assistance, registration costs, etc. are all tax-deductible.
Parking for a meeting downtown or other work trip is tax-deductible!
A toll while driving to or from a work destination is tax-deductible!
If you discuss work with a coworker, client, or even a friend, it's a write-off!
Conferences and classes that help you keep up with the industry are tax deductible.
Business cards & brochures are a marketing costs that can fully written off on taxes.
If you've had to set up an LLC or have other legal fees for work, that's tax deductible.
Commissions you pay to other agents or employees are fully deductible business expenses.
If you're with a national franchise or an independent broker, desk fees are deductible.
Registration fees and materials for courses like BOLD or GREL are tax deductible.
Online and newspaper ads, photography, staging, and signage are all tax deductible.
Office-related purchases like stationery, photocopies, and monitors are tax deductible.
Your state license renewal, MLS dues, and professional memberships, are deductible.
General business, as well as Errors and Omissions (E&O), insurance are tax deductible!
Lead generation software, like CRM or marketing automation software, is tax deductible.
To deliver a great experience to your passengers, you need to keep a clean car!
Good tunes in your car is part of delivering a great experience to your passengers!
Water bottles, gum & other goodies help a great experience to your passengers.
Floor mats keep the car clean and passengers happy (and prevent weekly car cleanings!)
If you're still paying down your car, you can claim those expenses!
If you drive you own vehicle, you can write off the annual depreciation of it's value!
If you use your phone for work (who doesn't?) then it's partially deductible.
If you've bought extra chargers to juice in parallel, those are tax deductible!
If you charge at home, part of your monthly electricity bill is tax deductible.
Equipment that helps you do pickups and handle the scooters is tax deductible.
If you charge your scooters in the garage, then you can claim home office tax deduction!
Sponsored search placements on Amazon, Etsy, etc are deductible advertising expenses!
Costs for email services like Mailchimp are a tax deductible marketing expense.
Every dollar you spend on Facebook Ads, Google Adwords, etc. is a tax deductible expense!
Online seller platforms take an arm and a leg on every sale. You can deduct those costs!
Sell hand-embroidered t-shirts? The cloth, labels and sewing machine are deductible!
If you employ people that help your business, that's tax deductible!
Any inventory costs from product that have been sold are tax deductible!
Online courses, summits, membership site subscriptions, workshops, etc are tax deductible!
The 2.75% (give or take) fee that you pay your payment processors ads up. It's deductible!
Cameras, video camera, lenses, lighting, tripods, used for work are all tax deductible!
Boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap, and postage fees — all of it's deductible!
If you're lucky enough to be able to afford designers or researchers, it's deductible!
Your monthly phone bills are expensive! Good thing the cost is partially deductible.
If you write about ancient Greece and buy an urn, it's deductible! (and weird)
Poop bags, as well as the little dispensers, are tax deductible work expenses!
Dog walking requires... a lot of walking! If bought walking shoes, it's deductible!
Dogs need to be walked rain or shine! Rain gear bought for the job is deductible.
If you buy extra treats for the dogs you walk, you can write that off on your taxes!
Tennis balls, and other toys you buy for the dogs you walk are tax deductible!
If you've had to buy extra leashes or harnesses, those purchases are tax deductible!
If you bike to get to and from your dog walking clients, it and repairs are deductible.
Public transportation expenses to / from your dog walking clients are deductible!
If you use a credit card to purchase business goods, you can write off the interest!
Grabbing fresh sheets, towels, or even just toilet paper for your guests can be deducted!
Write off anything related to keeping your rental space safe and cozy!
Treating your guests pays off! Write off that bottle of wine or house breakfast.
The percentage AirBNB takes for every guest? Don't worry you'll get it back in write offs!
When your income comes from renting part of your house, write off the mortgage interest!
Cleaning up doesn't sound so bad after you know you can deduct it from your taxes!
Storage to handle heavy digital files (business related) such as Dropbox or a hard drive.
Any clothing or beauty products used to review or just look your best for content.
Live webcasting apps or creative apps that help you look flawless and reach your audience.
Anything you order to show off your personal brand: Tshirts, stickers, mugs, etc.
If you want to reward your followers with a prize or giveaway, go ahead and write it off!
Write off any software you use for video and photo editing or content creation.
If you need to hire an editor, designer, or set assistance to help you, write it off!
Videocameras, mics, tripods, lenses, anything used to create content, you can write off.
If you are a fitness vlog, write off all those mats, weights, and other equipment used!
Focused on food or cooking? Write off all the supplies needed to produce your video.
Audition tapes, portfolios, business cards. Write off anything used to promote yourself.
Deduct any commision that the agency hiring you takes from every shoot or show.
Make up, hair treatments, or beauty supplies used for work are partially deductible!
Any expense from a modeling coach or other relevant training can be written off.
Your regular dues to participate in a union in your field can be written off.
Word and other editing software are 100% necessary for your job, write it off!
Pay to be a member of any writers organizations? Write off that annual fee.
Write off any books that help you manage your business or that are relevant to your field!
If PayPal or another payment method charged a fee for buying your book, write it off!
Seeing a show or performance counts as research, study up and write it off.
If an agent is helping you find gigs, deduct their fees from your next taxes.
That's right, Netflix is also a write-off! Films are considered research for your job.
Write off beauty supplies or treatments if they were related to a performance.
As long as it is not considered suitable for "streetwear" it can be written off!
Props you use to make class more exciting and easy to understand are deductible!
Rewards systems, which are created for our students, are very much tax write-offs.
ESL companies require teachers to have a decorated classroom which is our home office.
If you work for a delivery app service and they charge commission, write it off.
Required to wear a delivery app's merchandise? Write-off the shirts and bags!